Syria

Islamic State Loots Archaeological Sites for Cash

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Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 13 Issue: 4
February 20, 2015 11:15 AM Age: 2 days By: John C. K. Daly

Stolen funeral busts from Palmyra, one of Syria’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (Source: Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums)

By late 2013, more than 90 percent of Syria’s cultural sites lay in regions affected by fighting and civil unrest, leaving them open to plunder. In addition, regions of Iraq now under the control of the Islamic State militant group and its allies include roughly 4,500 of Iraq’s 12,000 known archaeological sites. [1] UNESCO recently reported that the “armed extremists in Iraq” are targeting “cultural heritage, cultural and religious minorities, as well as the documents and written evidence of one of the oldest civilizations in human history” (al-Akhbar [Beirut], February 4). In addition to destroying the cultural heritage of Iraq and Syria, there is also evidence that such activities are providing an important revenue stream for the Islamic State. U.S. officials have estimated that up to $100 million worth of antiquities from Syria and Iraq are being sold off each year, a significant portion of which is likely to pass through the hands of the Islamic State (Wall Street Journal, February 10). Similarly, on February 13, a UK Conservative member of parliament, Tim Loughton, told the House of Commons that antique buyers in the West could be unwittingly “feeding insurgencies,” citing Iraqi intelligence claims that the Islamic State “had collected as much as $36 million from the sale of artifacts” (Daily Telegraph, February 13).

Syria

In late 2012, the Islamic State dramatically increased its financial income when it secured Syria’s eastern oilfields. However, due to the fall in oil prices and U.S.-led airstrikes on oil facilities in its territories, the antiquities trade has become an increasingly important source of Islamic State funds. In one recent media report, an Iraqi intelligence official was quoted as saying: “They [the Islamic State] had taken $36 million from al-Nabuk alone (an area in the Qalamoun Mountains west of Damascus). Read the rest of this entry »

New Al Qaeda Group Produces Recruitment Material for Americans, Westerners

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English language appeals raise new concerns of future jihadist attacks in U.S.

Alhayat Media Center

BY:   June 13, 2014 5:00 am

Al Qaeda’s ultra-extremist Syrian offshoot known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) is stepping up efforts to recruit Americans and other westerners for jihad in Syria and possibly for future domestic terror attacks, according to U.S. officials.

A new media outlet affiliated with ISIL recently began producing recruiting materials in both English and German that U.S. intelligence analysts say is a sign they are targeting western jihadists for recruitment.

It is the first time ISIL, one of the most prominent ultra-violent jihadists among Syria rebels groups, has set up a western-oriented media arm.

ISIL also is leading the major military operations now under way in Iran that has produced the group’s take over of several Iraqi cities, including Mosul, the second largest. Read the rest of this entry »

Ansar Jerusalem confirms deaths of 6 members, 2 tied to Syria conflict

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By

In a statement released to jihadist forums on March 23, Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) confirmed the deaths of six of its fighters in clashes with Egyptian security forces on March 19. Egypt’s Interior Ministry had originally said that the raid, which took place about 20 miles north of Cairo, resulted in the deaths of five Ansar Jerusalem members and two Egyptian security personnel, as well as the arrest of four jihadists; the ministry later stated, however, that six jihadists had been killed and eight arrested.

The six members of Ansar Jerusalem who were killed in the clashes were identified by the jihadist group as: Fahmi Abdul Raouf Muhammad (Abu Dujana), Samir Abdul Hakim (Abu al Bara), Muhammad Mohsen Ali Muhammad (Abu Musab), Muhammad Sayed Mahmoud Ahmad (Abu Musab), Osama Saeed Abdul Aziz (Abu Omar), and Abdul Raouf Fahmi Abdul Raouf (Abu Mu’adh). At least two of those named had previously been identified by Egyptian authorities as suspects in recent attacks in Egypt. Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian Intelligence Tracking 80 Men Who Have Fought With Militants in Syria or Elsewhere Abroad

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Red Ensign (pre-1965 Canadian flag)

Red Ensign (pre-1965 Canadian flag) (Photo credit: Lone Primate)

March 24, 2014

CSIS tracking 80 Canadians who came home after going abroad for ‘terrorist purposes’

Douglas Quan Ottawa Citizen March 24, 2014

Intelligence officials are aware of about 80 Canadians who have returned home after going overseas for “terrorist purposes,” according to speaking notes prepared for the director of the nation’s spy agency.

The document obtained by Postmedia News does not offer explicit information about their activities, though it makes it clear that not all were involved in combat. While some individuals may have engaged in paramilitary activities, others are believed to have studied in extremist Islamic schools or provided logistical or fundraising support. Others never achieved their goals and simply returned home.

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U.S. reservist arrested after allegedly trying to enter Canada on his way to Syria to join Al-Qaeda-linked group

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In this file photo, cars line up to pass through the U.S. Customs station at Blaine, Washington to Canada on Dec. 20, 1999.

A U.S. National Guard reservist has been arrested on a Greyhound bus as he was trying to cross into Canada with the alleged intention of travelling to Syria to join an armed faction linked to Al-Qaeda.Nicholas Teausant, 20, was taken into custody at about 11:40 p.m. Sunday by U.S. Customs agents in Blaine, Wash. The California resident was allegedly on his way to Vancouver International airport.According to the FBI, he had repeatedly expressed his desire to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, or ISIS, an extremist group fighting to overthrown Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Dutch youngsters refused passports over Syria jihad fears

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Dutch Flag
Dutch Flag (Photo credit: Guido.)

Friday 21 February 2014

Ten Dutch youngsters have so far been refused a passport because the security services suspect they may be planning to go to Syria, the Dutch counter-terrorism unit NCTV told the Telegraaf.

The 10 include an 18-year-old girl from Maastricht who has converted to Islam and wants to travel to Syria with her husband, the Telegraaf says. The girl had expressed her support for terrorism on social media and was on an official watch list.

NCTV spokesman Edmond Messchaert toldbroadcaster Nos the passport applications were blocked because of fears the youngsters would return ‘radicalised and traumatised’. Those who disagree with the refusal to give them a passport can apply to the courts, he said.

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Insight: After Syria, al Qaeda expanding in Lebanon

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Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) try to calm civilians demonstrating against the rebel infighting in Aleppo (Stringer . Reuters, / January 6, 2014)

Mariam Karouny Reuters  10:19 a.m. EST, January 30, 2014

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Faced with recent setbacks in Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda is slowly but firmly gaining influence in Lebanon, helped by the country’s increasing sectarian violence and the turmoil caused by Syria’s civil war, sources close to the group say.
Lebanon, a small Mediterranean state with a fragile sectarian power sharing system, has seen the worst of the Syria’s war spillover with car bombs in Beirut and Tripoli, gunfights in city streets and rocket fire in the Bekaa Valley.
The violence is exacerbated by Lebanon’s own sectarian divisions and entrenching them. Shi’ite Hezbollah supports President Bashar al-Assad while his rebel opponents are backed by Sunni Muslims including Islamists and al Qaeda fighters.

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